In the News 04.13.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets


In the News 04.13.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.13.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets
In the News 04.13.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

The Ice Cream Sundae
Must Be Stopped

To eat out in New York is to drown in choices. Which neighborhood? Which cuisine? Updated or traditional? Speedy or stately? Loud or just moderately loud? Menus are getting busier, surrounding the usual appetizers and main courses with snacks and raw bar items and “large-format” platters.

Sometimes you will have a choice of desserts, but not always, and, it seems to me, the choices are fewer than you had a few years ago. More and more new restaurants offer just one or two desserts. And when you go out as often as I do, you start to notice that the one dessert you can count on seeing almost everywhere is an ice cream sundae. In many places, it’s the only dessert.

Read the rest of this article at: The New York Times

Stan Lee Needs a Hero


Back in early February, fighting what he later called “a little bout of pneumonia,” 95-year-old Stan Lee had an argument with his 67-year-old daughter, J.C. This was hardly unusual, but it seems to have been a breaking point.

The comic book legend — whose creative tenure at the helm of Marvel Comics beginning in New York in the early 1960s spawned Spider-Man, Black Panther and the X-Men and laid the foundation for superhero dominance in Hollywood that continues with the April 27 release of Avengers: Infinity War — sat in the office of his attorney Tom Lallas and signed a blistering declaration.

The Feb. 13 document, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, begins with some background, explaining that Lee and his late wife had arranged a trust for their daughter because she had trouble supporting herself and often overspent. “It is not uncommon for J.C. to charge, in any given month, $20,000 to $40,000 on credit cards, sometimes more,” the document states. It goes on to describe how, when he and his daughter disagree — “which is often” — she “typically yells and screams at me and cries hysterically if I do not capitulate.”

Lee explains that J.C. will, “from time to time,” demand changes to her trust, including the transfer of properties into her name. He has resisted such changes, he states, because they “would greatly increase the likelihood of her greatest fear: that after my death, she will become homeless and destitute.”

Read the rest of this article at: Hollywood Reporter

In the News 04.13.18 : Today’s Articles of Interest from Around the Internets

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Rescue On The Killer Mountain

It was already late—just one hour before sunset on January 25, 2018—and they had yet to reach the summit. The shadows of the high Himalayan peaks were growing longer every second, covering the surrounding valleys with a dark veil and turning the air so cold that every breath became painful. Elisabeth Revol, a thin, 38-year-old French climber with four 8,000-meter peaks on her résumé, filmed the landscape as they began their final push. Her camera swept left, then right, capturing the steep terrain and the snow and ice interwoven with bald rocks.

For a second, the frame stopped on her partner, Tomasz Mackiewicz, a Polish climber who for a decade has been obsessed with climbing Nanga Parbat in winter. This was his seventh attempt on the mountain, and he had never tried to climb another 8,000-meter peak. On this day, Tomasz was slower than Elisabeth. In the video, he was roughly 300 feet behind her, barely visible, a small black dot moving up a shiny white slope.

Elisabeth turned off the camera, pulled out her GPS, and recorded their position. She was just 300 vertical feet from becoming the first woman to climb Nanga Parbat in winter. The weather was relatively calm. There was hardly any wind; the temperature hovered around minus 22 Fahrenheit. But that would change once the sun set. The winds would rise, and the temperature would fall to minus 60 degrees. They needed to move.

Read the rest of this article at: Outside


The Murder That Shook Iceland

The main shopping street in Reykjavík is called Laugavegur, “the way of hot pools”, because it was originally used by women hauling laundry from the town to the thermal springs two miles away. It cuts across Iceland’s capital from west to east, with the Atlantic Ocean below and, above, the bone-white Hallgrímskirkja church looming over the city’s brightly coloured roofs like a tower from Tolkien’s Middle-earth. It was a street that Birna Brjánsdóttir knew well.

A vivacious 20-year-old woman with auburn hair and a sharp sense of humour, Birna grew up in the suburbs, a 30-minute walk away. She liked music – everything from hip-hop to folk – and she liked to drive, and so in the summer of 2016 she embraced the Icelandic pastime of rúntur, cruising slowly down Laugavegur in her father’s car with her friends, windows open, speakers blaring, past the boutiques and coffee bars and tourist shops selling soft-toy puffins and knitted jumpers.

That winter, when the sun appeared for only five hours a day and the snow piled deep on the nearby mountains, Birna had been enjoying the nightlife around Laugavegur. After finishing work on a Friday, she would often play cards in a pub with some friends and then, after midnight, when people in Reykjavík finally start to party, they would go dancing, as they did on the evening of 13 January 2017.

Self-assured and carefree, Birna was one of the first people that night to get up and dance on the stage at Húrra, a popular live music venue and club. When her friends decided to leave at 2am, she told them she would stay on. She left the club just before closing time three hours later. She bought a falafel pitta and started slowly walking up Laugavegur, which is brightly lit at night, with glowing storefronts and lampposts every 10 metres or so.

She was walking alone, which was not unusual behaviour in Reykjavík, even for a young woman. More so than in most other countries, Icelanders feel they know their own people; it is a peaceful place where entire years have passed without a single murder. It was -9C with the windchill, but Birna seemed unperturbed. She wore Dr Martens boots – regular black ones, not her knee-high pair with the glow-in-the-dark skeleton foot on the side – black jeans, a grey sweater and a black hoodie draped over her shoulders. Her hair hung loose and a pair of white earbuds dangled around her neck.

She was drunk, dropping coins at one point and bumping into a stranger on the pavement. She ambled past the yellow-and-red awning of the Lebowski Bar, inspired by the Coen brothers film, and a coffee-and-waffle shop on a corner where a narrow lane led down to the sea.

Read the rest of this article at: The Guardian

Down In A Dead Man’s Town


“We’re headed down to Braddock,” my uncle said, Blue Öyster Cult flooding from the car stereo. “Gonna watch the barges pass through the locks.”

His white Cutlass was idling at the curb outside the schoolyard at St. James, where he stood with the driver’s side door propped open and the front seat folded forward so I could climb in the back. I threw my book bag in first and slid across the maroon interior, my Catholic school uniform of blue oxford shirt and khaki pants looking shabby against the smooth velour.

“Hey there, kid,” said Bozo, my uncle’s friend, who was riding shotgun. “Long time no see.” He flashed an awkward smile in my direction as blue cigarette smoke billowed from his nostrils, two upside-down smokestacks spitting exhaust against a face scattered with freckles and a receding hairline of dirty red curls.

It was winter of 1986, not long after my ninth birthday. Pittsburgh looked as it always did: dejected and lost beneath a canopy of swollen gray clouds. Same as he had for much of the past year, my uncle assumed the role of de facto babysitter. It was an arrangement part circumstance and part convenience. My parents both worked, and my uncle had lost his job at Heinz the year before. This meant we no longer received plastic Heinz pickle pins as souvenirs, but we did see a lot more of my uncle. Since the layoff, his days were often spent holed up in my grandmother’s house, where he lived with his wife and son—my aunt and cousin—drinking Miller High Life tall boys and watching Beverly Hills Cop on VHS.

When my uncle lost his job, I was old enough to know that it was bad to be unemployed. It must have stressed his marriage and his role as a father and placed undue pressure on his living arrangement with my grandmother. I was also old enough to have overheard conversations about his drinking problem. My father, my uncle’s younger brother, would pull him aside, and I would hear them talking in hushed tones. I always assumed my father was offering whatever help he could, trying in vain to change my uncle’s trajectory. But I never heard what they said to each other. Often my father’s concerns seemed to be lost in all the noise, and my uncle would change the subject, talking at normal volume again about the home remodeling project he had thrown himself into or reminiscing about their childhood.

Much later, I would learn that my uncle had been in and out rehab several times, and that my father was always there to help him get clean.
I was young to walk the mile alone from St. James to my family’s house in Princeton Park, situated high atop a hill in Wilkinsburg, so the responsibility of shepherding me home each day fell to my uncle. He often walked the half-dozen blocks from my grandmother’s house to my school, where he stood waiting at the edge of the playground in his olive-green military jacket — the same piece of clothing that my father and so many men of his generation brought home after the war in Vietnam. From a distance, my uncle could almost be confused for my father, hands tucked in his jacket pockets, body sloped against the chain-link fence, and brown hair swept across his forehead. The most notable difference—visible, at least—was that my uncle had a mustache that curled at the sides of his mouth, while my father was usually clean-shaven. But there were other differences beneath the surface. My uncle was outgoing and could command a room, his wit sharp and his sense of humor wry. In contrast, my father was quiet, strong, and dependable, the type of person who was always in your corner. As brothers, they balanced one another out.

In simpler times, my parents might have strung a house key on a shoestring, hung it around my neck, and told me to walk home and lock the door until they returned from work. But after the 1977 abduction and murder of Beth Lynn Barr, a six-year-old neighborhood girl who disappeared on her way home from Johnston School — which sat a mere two blocks from our front door — an irreversible fear had crept into our lives. My parents, my mother in particular, fretted over the safety of my sister and me. To walk home unaccompanied would have been borrowing trouble, tempting the types of strangers who snatched up children and separated them from the world.

So, when school let out each afternoon, my uncle watched over us — a surrogate parent pulling shift work until my mother or father came to pick us up. My sister, who is five years older than me, would meet us after stepping off a Port Authority bus from Shadyside, where she attended a Catholic high school. We then picked up my younger cousin — my uncle’s son — before returning to my grandmother’s house to zone out on Merrie Melodies cartoons, MTV, and bowls of Fruity Pebbles. Those long afternoons are when I first watched an odd mishmash of movies, like Back to the Future, The Blues Brothers, and To Live and Die in L.A.; where I first heard “Nights in White Satin” from the Moody Blues’ Days of Future Passed album; and where I flipped through my uncle’s dusty old records just to marvel at the art on the album sleeves, soaking up the wild colors on Santana’s Abraxas or the somber faces of the Doors on their self-titled debut.

“You know this song?” my uncle yelled from the second floor of my grandmother’s house, the sound of needle on vinyl hissing from the stereo speakers in his bedroom. “It’s ‘the Boss!’” With a bandanna tied across his forehead, my uncle held the neck of an invisible guitar that was slung across his shoulder as the opening notes of “Born in the USA” rumbled through the floorboards. When the vocals came in, my uncle silently mouthed Springsteen’s anthemic lyrics, his expression as animated as his body.

Born down in a dead man’s town
The first kick I took was when I hit the ground
End up like a dog that’s been beat too much
Till you spend half your life just covering up.

Read the rest of this article at: Medium

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